Fourth Sunday of Lent: Conversation with Nicodemus

Nicodemus appears only in the Gospel of John. At the end of the Gospel he helps prepare the body of Jesus for burial. The passage we have today is from the middle of the third Chapter of John. At the beginning of the chapter Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night. He was a Pharisee and a member of Sanhedrin. According to one scholar, Nicodemus probably was impressed by the miracles of Jesus but was not fully convinced that he was the Messiah. So in coming to Jesus at night might have been a way for him to take the next step in believing Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus and Nicodemus have a dialogue right before today’s gospel passage about being born again from above: "Unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." And the beginning sentence of the Gospel about the Son of man being lifted up "so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" is the preparation for the most quoted phrase in John’s Gospel (3.16) "God so loved the world that he gave his only son that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

Conversation with Nicodemus — John 3.14-21

Jesus said to Nicodemus: "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

Questions for reflection:

  1. Am I grateful for the gift of faith? Am I grateful for those who have nourished my faith: my parents, my spouse, friends and the Church community?
  2. Do I live in such a way as to give witness that “Christ is the Light of the World”? How am I light for others?
  3. God promises eternal life to those who believe in Jesus. What do I hope for in eternal life?
  4. God sent his son so that the world might be saved. How have I noticed God’s salvation operative in me and in the world?